VIDEO: Dallas Police Told to Leave Protective Gear Behind Before Deadly 2016 Rally
The officers assigned to the rally in downtown Dallas last July – where five officers were killed and nine wounded – were told not to wear certain heavy protective gear because it would make them look too "militaristic," reports CBS DFW.
"They were told not to wear their heavy gear," which, if worn, may have "stopped some of those rounds," said Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association.
Mata, in an exclusive interview, said that, while all of the officers were believed to have been wearing standard-issued protective vests, many had with them better protective gear – stronger, thicker body armor and helmets – but had to keep them in their patrol vehicles.
"They didn't want the police department to look militaristic to the community, look aggressive, incite any type of trouble," he said.
For the same reasons, according to Mata, the officers were not allowed to "arm up" with powerful long rifles – a weapon much like the one Micah Johnson had when he ambushed them, marking one of the deadliest attacks on law enforcement in history.